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Five reminders to put safety first as life returns to ‘normal’

Five reminders to put safety first as life returns to ‘normal’

By Bertus Visser, Chief Executive of Distribution at PSG Insure

As schools and businesses around the country re-open, it is worth reminding ourselves that while we are all focused on minimising our risk of contracting Covid-19, we shouldn’t forget about other everyday dangers either. The possibilities of an accident or crime are high as we face dark mornings and overcast, rainy days ahead. Here are some practical tips to help keep safety on track during the transition to normal.

Be aware of your surroundings

Always remain aware of your surroundings. While this may seem obvious, it’s easy to get distracted in the morning rush. When checking that kids have all they need for the day while leaving home, be mindful of unusual activity or suspicious characters lingering nearby. Tell your children to do the same. Avoid speaking loudly about vital information that a stranger can use to gain your child’s trust (such as claiming to be the new lift club driver or tutor).

Crime can happen to even the most cautious

As we approach winter when the sun rises a little later, it’s important to adjust activities accordingly. Practising safety is part of this process. Ensure that your All Risk insurance cover extends as you need it to – covering portable possessions such as phones, tablets, and laptops for their correct replacement values. These items are attractive targets for muggings, so if you reduced your cover over lockdown, chances are the risks are back to what they were before with schools and many businesses returning as lockdown eases.

While it may be a way to make the commute more interesting, remind children to avoid wearing earphones when walking in the early hours of the morning, as it may make them a target too. Remind them to be vigilant and to keep an eye on their school bag, ensuring that anything valuable that they are carrying with them, is covered.

Dump distractions

Be a considerate driver. Check that your lights (but not your bright lights) are on from the moment you leave your driveway and alert fellow drivers if they have forgotten to put theirs on. Honour stop signs and pedestrian crossings. We all need to be a little extra careful out there, especially in school districts and if the roads are wet.  Drive slower too, even if the roads are not congested.

Make it a rule to avoid texting or talking on your cell phone while driving. Beyond it being against the law, it is a bad habit that can easily be prevented. Consider setting up the ‘do not disturb’ function on your phone to help avoid temptation. Keep your eyes on the road and be aware of travelling cyclists, bikers, and pedestrians as they are not always the easiest to see, and might misjudge how far away your car is, especially when it is dark.

Pass on good habits

While we all became a little spoilt with quieter roads and emptier streets during lockdown, remember that there are likely to be more cars (and commercial vehicles) on the road under level three of lockdown.  Be sure to factor this into your morning planning - rather leave ten minutes early. This avoids rushing, which can lead to nervous driving and may cause an accident. Generally allowing more time to get to where you need to be is a good idea, irrespective of your driving experience level.

If your older child is travelling independently, also ensure they understand they must always check the vehicle is secure and parked safely. This includes checking that the car’s windows are fully closed, the doors are locked and that the alarm has been activated. Whatever your insurance policy says you should have in place, needs to be active for you to stay covered. A top tip is to always double check that your car is locked by trying the door handle, even if you locked it using your remote, as remote jamming remains a real danger.

Brush up on basic safety

Ensuring you are visible is an easy way to ensure everyone remains safe. Encourage your children to keep to the pedestrian path and to wear some form of reflective strips on their bags or clothing. If you are going for a jog while it is still dark or later in the afternoon, always ensure you are visible to oncoming vehicles and be extra vigilant of your surroundings. Switch your vehicle’s headlights on if it is dark, rainy or misty.

If you are unsure of any changes needed on your policy as schools and businesses reopen, contact your adviser so that you are adequately prepared. An example might include a change to your car insurance if you are not the only regular driver. It’s essential to remember the basics must be in place, as these form the base of the protection your policy aims to give you, but you must ensure you have the right cover, and adhere to the terms and conditions, to benefit. Stay safe out there.